Thursday, February 19, 2009

Advocacy Group: New MBTA Line Would Cost $800,000 Per Rider

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an organization of public sector resource professionals says the MBTA has lowered ridership projections a controversial extension to Fall River and New Bedford while projected costs for the project have risen. In a news release posted on the Common website, it claims the cost of the state's preferred alternative, which would run across the Hockomock Swamp, Massachusetts' largest freshwater wetland, now equals $800,000 per commuter.

According to the release, MBTA now projects 2,500 new round trip riders for the New Bedford line. In 2002, the estimate was 2,953 riders. While the project's cost is estimated at $1.4 billion, that does not include environmental mitigation, which PEER claims could push the total cost over $2 billion.

"For $800,000 we could fly each commuter to New Bedford every day in a helicopter," stated New England PEER Director Kyla Bennett.

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